Slovenia’s capital, Ljubljana, doesn’t look up to much from the train. Having come from the beautiful, clean, nothing-bad-ever-happens city of Salzburg, Ljubljana was definitely something different. We arrived at the train station in the middle of the night and ended up lost wandering the streets looking for the Hostel Celica. If we hadn’t been walking around in a group of three, I would have been a little bit nervous.
The Hostel Celica is a converted prison and is located in Metelkova City cultural centre, which consists of several dilapidated buildings covered in graffiti. These former army barracks are now squats for artists and activists. So you can see what I mean when I say Ljubljana has a grungy, edgy vibe.
By day, especially when walking around the centre, Ljubljana definitely looks a lot better and more appealing.
The sights in Ljubljana centre around the bridges and the river. We walked to the famous ‘dragon bridge’, which actually looks a lot more grand and imposing in the photos.
We had the bright idea of having a picnic up at the Ljubljana Castle and purchased some juicy red strawberries from the fruit markets. In need of some cheese, prosciutto and bread, we ventured to the indoor market. The people on the market stalls let us spend ages tasting their produce and even gave us some free coffee and crackers.
To access the medieval castle you have to take a glass elevator up to the top, which was a nice change from the long hikes we had to do to reach the top of other castles. The beautiful castle has some fine restaurants and affords incredible views over the city of Ljubljana. We sat on a lawn in the courtyard and laid our picnic out on the grass in the sunshine. We even had the cheek to go into one of the restaurants and ask for glasses of wine, which turned out to cost only 80 cents each!
After descending back down to ground level, we walked alongside the river, where people were sitting in the street-side cafes enjoying a mid-afternoon coffee.
The centre of all the action is the Prešeren square with the iconic red Franciscan Church. Opposite is Triple Bridge, which offers a great photo opportunity of the river. In the square you’ll find various buskers playing music and performing dances.
We found a Wi-Fi hotspot at Cacao, which serves incredible gelato and coffee, then crossed Triple Bridge and wandered around the quaint Old Town.
In the evening we went to a brilliant Mexican restaurant called Cantina Mexicana and visited a couple of bars alongside the river, before downing some shots and 2-4-1 cocktails in Skeleton Bar. There wasn’t much going on because it was raining and it was midweek, but I imagine it would have been a good night out on the weekend.